Reader View in Firefox: why is it bad and how to disable it?

I have been a huge fan of Firefox since, like, ever.

Do you remember Moox? Nope? Well, I do.

It has its ups and downs but it is a Good Browser in general; it offers a proper balance between usability and respecting users’ privacy.

Since around version 37 Firefox brings a new feature called „Reader View”. It is quite simple but powerful: it can display the current web page in a „reading mode” which is simply stripping-off any non-textual data and also presenting whatever is left in a nice, single-column view, perfect for reading.

I find this feature very useful, especially on websites with poorly configured font sizes and / or typefaces.

However…

I write a lot. Mostly in Polish.

There are nine diacritics in the Polish alphabet: ż, ź, ć, ń, ą, ś, ł, ę, ó (this is the order they appear on the keyboard, left-to-right, bottom-up).

Except for some exotic, one-in-a-milion scenarios, all Polish keyboards use the standard „polish-programmer” layout which allows for entering the nine diacritics simply by pressing RAlt key and then the actual letter.

So: RAlt-o for ó, RAlt-n for ń and so on. The only exception is ź (RAlt-x) as RAlt-z is already taken for ż.

Now, if you take a peek at your keyboard, you will see that E and R keys are close to each other. So when you try to type „ę” (RAlt-e) it is easy to hit RAlt-R instead.

Guess what combination activates the famous Reader View in Firefox.

Alt-R!

Imagine typing a loooong, long comment or a blog piece or anything else, in your favourite web browser, and instead of hitting RAlt-e (for „ę”) you hit RAlt-r (because your index finger just slipped a little bit to the right).

Your momentarily not-so-favourite, stupid, ridiculous, insane web browser switches to Reading View, effectively destroying everything you just typed.

Ugh.

I cannot count the number of times I got frustrated (and so did the entire Internet by not being able to present my priceless thoughts to the humanity) because my left index finger slipped a little bit to the right.

So recently I finally decided to chop off this stupid thing in order to preserve the tiny amount of sanity still remaining somewhere inside my skull.

I disabled the Reader View.

How?

Thankfully, as with most other things in Firefox, there is a hidden option for it. Just browse to about:config, find the following setting:

reader.parse-on-load.enabled

…and set its value to false, then restart Firefox and Bob’s your uncle.

You’re very welcome!

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It is possible to change shortcut for Reader View? I used FF long time ago…